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Kentucky Derby Prize Money 2024: Which Horses Have The Most Career Earnings?

Andy Newton
Kentucky Derby prize money

The 2024 Kentucky Derby winner will win a boosted $3.1m, but as the excitement builds up ahead of the race – we look at the current earnings for ALL of 20 runners heading to post at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

  • Japanese Raider Forever Young The Top Kentucky Derby Earner at $2,049,451
  • Fierceness With $1,703,850 Is Looking To Become Mike Repole’s Richest Horse
  • Sierra Leone ($918,000) Needs Top 5 Finish To Break The $1m Prize Money Barrier
  • T O Password The Lowest Career Earner In 2024 Kentucky Derby Field With $163,339

Kentucky Derby Prize Money 2024: How Much Will The Winning Horse Get?

The great news for any horse racing owner that is lucky enough to have a 2024 Kentucky Derby runner, is this year’s Churchill Downs purse has been given a big cash injection.

Looking back 12 months ago, the winning Kentucky Derby horse – Mage – picked up $1,860,000, but this year’s hero receives a 66% increase on that. First prize is now worth $3,100,000.

The total 2024 Kentucky Derby purse now stands at $5m, up from $3m in 2023, but the race is still behind the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which carries a purse of $7m.

Finishing Position  Prize Money 
1st $3,100,000
2nd $1,000,000
3rd $500,000
4th $250,000
5th $150,000
Total Kentucky Prize Money

In addition to the $3.1m for the winning horse, the Kentucky Derby prize money 2024 also stretches down to the top five finishers (as per the table above).

The runner-up will bank a cool $1m, with the third $500,000, the fourth $250,000 and the fifth horse home $150,000.

However, that’s where the handouts end. If we see a field of 20 runners, this means the remaining 15 horses (75%) will walk away with nothing in terms of prize money – just the memories.

Kentucky Derby 2024: The Biggest Earners Listed 

Position  Horse Trainer Kentucky Derby Points Wins Total Career Earnings ($)
1st Forever Young (JPN) Yoshito Yahagi 100 5 $2,049,451
2nd Fierceness Todd Pletcher 136 3 $1,703,850
3rd Sierra Leone Chad Brown 155 3 $918,000
4th Catching Freedom Brad Cox 125 3 $877,350
5th Stronghold Phil D’Amato 125 3 $827,200
6th Just Steel Wayne Lukas 67 2 $724,545
7th Endlessly Michael McCarthy 100 5 $707,200
8th Mystik Dan Kenny McPeek 46 2 $641,360
9th Dornoch Danny Gargan 75 3 $552,275
10th Honor Marie Whit Beckman 65 2 $526,175
11th Resilience Bill Mott 110 2 $494,630
12th West Saratoga Larry Demeritte 67 2 $460,140
13th Track Phantom Steve Asmussen 70 3 $405,000
14th Encino (scratched) Brad Cox 40 3 $378,315
15th Domestic Product Chad Brown 60 2 $314,200
16th Just A Touch Brad Cox 75 1 $281,700
17th Epic Ride John Ennis 35 2 $253,166
18th Catalytic Saffie Joseph Jr 50 1 $216,825
19th Grand Mo The First Victor Barboza Jr. 40 2 $214,650
20th Society Man Danny Gargan 50 1 $196,705
21st T O Password Daisuke Takayanagi 40 2 $163,339

Japanese Raider Forever Young The Top 2024 Kentucky Derby Earner

As you can see from our Kentucky Derby top earners table above, it’s not actually a US-trained horse that tops the list.

Instead, it’s the big Japanese raider – Forever Young – who will head into the 2024 Kentucky Derby with the bragging rights as the horse that’s won the most prize money to date.

This Real Steel-bred 3 year-old is unbeaten in all five starts and in the process has banked over $2m ($2,049,451) in earnings – which is $345,601 more than the next best in the list – the Todd Pletcher-trained Fierceness.

The horse’s big wins this year have come in two other Derby races – the Saudi Derby in February and last time out when landing the UAE Derby at Meydan at the end of March, which qualified him for the 2024 Run For The Roses.

Forever Young will also be looking to become the first Kentucky Derby winner from Japan and will be hoping to do better than last year’s Far East runners – Derma Sotogake (6th) and Mandarin Hero (12th).

The Kentucky Derby odds 2024 suggest he’s certainly in with a chance, as the general third favorite with most US racebooks.

How Have Non-US Horses Fared In The Kentucky Derby?

Over the history of the Kentucky Derby, we’ve only seen five winners that weren’t bred in the US.

Omar Khayyam was the first in 1917, who was born in the UK. Tomy Lee in 1959 was another UK-bred winner, while 1971 Triple Crown winner Canonero hailed from Venezuela and Northern Dancer (1964) and Sunny’s Halo (1983) both originated from Canada.

Japan could also have outsider T O Password in the race, who qualified via the ‘Japan Road To The Kentucky Derby’.

2024 Kentucky Derby Favorites Sierra Leone and Fierceness Have Banked Over $2.6m Between Them

Despite the two big Kentucky Derby favorites, Sierra Leone and Fierceness, trailing behind Forever Young in the earnings league, that’s not to say they haven’t won their connections tidy sums already. What such horses bank en route to Churchill Downs is often a bonus.

The Kentucky Derby prize money for winning can catapult any contender, be they a leading fancy or a longshot, up the earnings table. Fierceness, who is owned by Mike Repole, has only won three times but two of those wins have been in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (2023) and the Florida Derby (2024), which banked the horse around $1.5m (watch below).

Sierra Leone is yet to break through the $1m barrier ($918,000) but is less than $100k from doing so, which means a top five (or better) finish in the 2024 Kentucky Derby will see this milestone reached.

His biggest payday to date has come in the 2024 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland in early April (watch below), when he secured approx. $500,000. Will head to Churchill Downs as one of the main players according to the best Kentucky Derby betting sites.

WATCH: Fierceness Winning The 2024 Florida Derby

WATCH: Sierra Leone Winning The 2024 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes

Kentucky Derby Runners 2024 and Full Career Earnings 

See below the expected Churchill Downs entries ahead of the 150th edition of the Run For The Roses on May 4 – you can see the full Kentucky Derby race schedule, plus the contest will have a maximum of 20 runners.

Forever Young silks FOREVER YOUNG (JPN)

  • Runs: 5
  • Wins: 5
  • Career Earnings: $2,049,451
  • Trainer: Yoshito Yahagi

Big hope from Japan that is yet to lose a race from five starts and will head into the 2024 Kentucky Derby unbeaten. Has already got two Derby race wins under his belt, when taking the Saudi and UAE versions and will be looking to become only the sixth non US-bred Kentucky Derby winner and the first from Japan. Qualified for this by winning the UAE Derby.

Fierceness silks KD FIERCENESS

  • Runs: 5
  • Wins: 3
  • Career Earnings: $1,703,850
  • Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last season at Santa Anita and has since added a third in the Holy Bull Stakes and an impressive win in the Florida Derby last time out – both at Gulfstream Park. The last of those races is often a good guide to the Kentucky Derby, with five winners of the Florida Derby following up at Churchill Downs since 2006. Todd Pletcher has also had two previous Kentucky Derby winners – (Super Saver, 2010) and (Always Dreaming ,2017). If Fierceness can win the full $3.1m, he’ll also become Mike Repole’s horse that’s banked the most prize money.

Sierra Leone silks SIERRA LEONE 

  • Runs: 4
  • Wins: 3
  • Career Earnings: $918,000
  • Trainer: Chad Brown

The Chad Brown team are still searching for their first Kentucky Derby winner, but the best US racebooks feel that they could be breaking that duck in 2024 with Sierra Leone, who is one of the leading fancies in the betting. This Gun Runner colt will head to the race having lost just one of his four career starts and was a nice winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland in early April. He’ll need a top five finish to break the $1m career earnings. Something that looks a big possibility based on that most recent win that also saw him have other Kentucky Derby hopefuls in Just A Touch (2nd) and Dornoch (4th) in behind.

Catching Freedom silks CATCHING FREEDOM 

  • Runs: 5
  • Wins: 3
  • Career Earnings: $877,350
  • Trainer: Brad Cox

This Constitution colt is the fourth richest in this year’s Kentucky Derby with just shy of $900,000 banked. The bulk of that prize haul came in winning the Louisiana Derby last time out at Fair Grounds. The last horse to take in that race (6th) and win at Churchill Downs was Mandaloun in 2021 and was also trained by Brad Cox.

Stronghold silks STRONGHOLD

  • Runs: 6
  • Wins: 3
  • Career Earnings: $827,200
  • Trainer: Philip D’Amato

Fifth in the career earnings table is this Philip D’Amato-trained Ghostzapper colt, who has won 50% of his six career starts and banked $827,000 in the process. He’s also yet to finish outside the first two in his career and is a two-time Derby winner as well. Those wins came in the Sunland Derby in February and last time out when landed the Santa Anita Derby – a race that both California Chrome (2014) and I’ll Have Another (2012) both won before claiming Kentucky Derby glory.

Just Steel silks JUST STEEL

  • Runs: 11
  • Wins: 2
  • Career Earnings: $724,545
  • Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas

Just Steel is next in the prize money list in sixth. Trained by veteran handler D. Wayne Lukas, who has four Kentucky Derby wins to his name. The first of these Churchill Downs wins came way back in 1988 with Winning Colors. He then added Thunder Gulch (1995) and Grindstone (1996), with his most recent being Charismatic in 1999. This colt is bred by Triple Crown winner Justify too and is one of the most experienced in the field with 11 career starts. Two of those have been wins and was last seen running second in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park at the end of March.

Endlessly silks KD ENDLESSLY

  • Runs: 6
  • Wins: 5
  • Career Earnings: $707,200
  • Trainer: Michael W. McCarthy

This 3 year-old has an excellent wins-to-runs ratio, with only one defeat from his six starts. That came in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last November but has since bounced back to win twice this year. The last of those wins came in the Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park in March.  Which is a race the 2022 Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike finished third in before cementing his name into Churchill Downs folklore.

Mystik Dan silks MYSTIK DAN

  • Runs: 6
  • Wins: 2
  • Career Earnings: $641,360
  • Trainer: Kenneth G. McPeek

This McPeek Kentucky Derby runner makes the top 8 after winning the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park in February and adding a bronze to that in the Arkansas Derby last time out at the same track. Therefore, has a bit of ground to back up on Just Steel, who was second that day. But is also a proven winner at Churchill Down when taking a Maiden Special Weight there last November, which will be a big plus.

Dornoch silks DORNOCH

  • Runs: 6
  • Wins: 3
  • Career Earnings: $552,275
  • Trainer: Danny Gargan

A winner of 50% of his six career runs, two of which were in the G2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct last December and the Fountain Of Youth at Gulfstream Park this March. Has since ran a respectable fourth in the G1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland behind one of the big Kentucky Derby fancies Sierra Leone. However, despite that defeat still has the tag as being the only horse to beat Sierra Leone after having this Chad Brown runner back in second in the already mentioned Remsen win. Dornoch will also head into the race as the most searched for Kentucky Derby runner in 2024.

Honor Marie silks HONOR MARIE

  • Runs: 5
  • Wins: 2
  • Career Earnings: $526,175
  • Trainer: Whitworth Beckman

Just making it into the top 10 on the career earnings table is the Whit Beckman-trained Honor Marie, who has won two of his five starts. He was last seen running second to Catching Freedom in the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds in March. However, the switch back to Churchill Downs looks a big plus having won the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at the track last November and his overall form figures at the course read 1-2-1.

Resilience silks RESILIENCE 

  • Runs: 6
  • Wins: 2
  • Career Earnings: $494,630
  • Trainer: William Mott

Trainer William Mott’s sole Kentucky Derby win came in 2019 with Country House, who was promoted to the winners’ podium after first-past-the-post Maximum Security was disqualified. He’ll be trying to add to that success with this Into Mischief colt, who has banked just short of $500k in career winnings. The bulk of this prize haul came from running fourth in the Risen Star Stakes in February and then winning the G2 Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct in early April.

West Saratoga silks WEST SARATOGA 

  • Runs: 10
  • Wins: 2
  • Career Earnings: $460,140
  • Trainer: Larry W. Demeritte

Another of the more experienced 2024 Kentucky Derby runners with 10 career runs (2 wins). He’s only been outside the first four once when fifth in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland last year. His big career win to date came in the G3 Iroquois Stakes and the big plus is that was run at Churchill Downs, where his overall form figures read 2-2-1. He was last seen running second in the Jeff Ruby behind Endlessly at the end of March.

Track Phantom silks TRACK PHANTOM

  • Runs: 7
  • Wins: 3
  • Career Earnings: $405,000
  • Trainer: Steven Asmussen

Track Phantom has won just over $400k in total prize money from his seven career runs that have seen him win three times. The biggest of those successes came in the G3 Lecomte Stakes at the start of 2024 at Fair Grounds and has since run respectably in the Risen Star (2nd) and Louisiana Derby (4th). Trainer Steve Asmussen is still looking for his first Kentucky Derby win.

Encino silks ENCINO (scratched)

  • Runs: 4
  • Wins: 3
  • Career Earnings: $378,315
  • Trainer: Brad Cox

Lightly-raced Nyquist colt that has only had four career runs, but has won three and banked almost $400k. Another trained by the 2021 Kentucky Derby winning barn of Brad Cox and this Godolphin-owned runner should also be open to a lot more improvement having clearly taken a step forward last time out when winning the G3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.

Domestic Product silks DOMESTIC PRODUCT

  • Runs: 5
  • Wins: 2
  • Career Earnings: $314,200
  • Trainer: Chad Brown

Looks the likely Chad Brown second string in the race, but has fair form to his name with two career wins and just over $300k won in prize money. Ran second in the Holy Bull Stakes in February and improved on that to win the Tampa Bay Derby last time out. More needed here, but at least already has a Derby win to his name and will head into the race in winning form.

Just A Touch silks JUST A TOUCH 

  • Runs: 3
  • Wins: 1
  • Career Earnings: $281,700
  • Trainer: Brad Cox

Yet another possible Brad Cox runner in this year’s Kentucky Derby, but one that should be open to more improvement with just the three career runs. Well-bred too by the Triple Crown winner Justify and was only 1½ lengths behind Sierra Leone when runner-up in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland last time out. With another step forward, he looks a lively outsider that could be overpriced based on how close he got to one of the favorites last time.

Epic Ride silks EPIC RIDE

  • Runs: 5
  • Wins: 2
  • Career Earnings: $253,166
  • Trainer: John Ennis

Racked up just over a quarter of a million dollars in career earnings, with the bulk of this coming with a win in the Leonatus Stakes at Turfway back in February and then added a silver in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at the same track. This John Ennis-trained colt has also since improved on that with a fine third in the Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland – just 5 1/4 lengths behind the hot Kentucky Derby fancy Sierra Leone that day. Former UK-based jockey Adam Beschizza has also built up a good partnership with the horse.

Catalytic silks CATALYTIC 

  • Runs: 3
  • Wins: 1
  • Career Earnings: $216,825
  • Trainer: Saffie A Joseph Jr.

With just over $200k banked then, Catalytic is one of the runners with the fewest earnings so far. However, is also another that has only had a handful of races (3), with the last of those a fair second in the Florida Derby last time, which is a decent Kentucky Derby prep race. However, was 13 ½ lengths behind the winner that day in Fierceness, so will need to find a fair bit more here as the yard go in search of their first Kentucky Derby win.

Grand Mo The First silks GRAND MO THE FIRST

  • Runs: 6
  • Wins: 2
  • Career Earnings: $214,650
  • Trainer: Victor Barboza Jr.

Another that ran in his season’s Florida Derby – when third in the race and about 16 lengths behind the winner Fierceness that day. Prior to that banked a bit more cash when third in the Tampa Bay Derby in March. But his two career wins came at lower levels and is so far 0-from-4 in Listed or graded races.

Society Man silks SOCIETY MAN 

  • Runs: 5
  • Wins: 1
  • Career Earnings: $196,705
  • Trainer: Danny Gargan

Finished 8th in the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct earlier this year, but has built on that with his first career win in a Maiden Special Weight at the same track. Then ran second in the Wood Memorial last time. Finished 2 ¼ lengths second to Resilience that day and has since been gelded. Connections will be hoping can eke out a bit more improvement.

T O Password silks T O PASSWORD

  • Runs: 2
  • Wins: 2
  • Career Earnings: $163,339
  • Trainer: Daisuke Takayanagi

Another raider from Japan, but their likely second string with his form so far not on the same level at Forever Young. That said, has shown promise in opening two races to be unbeaten and was a nice winner of the Fukuryu Stakes at Nakayama last time out. Qualified for Churchill Downs via the ‘Japan Road To The Kentucky Derby’ series.

Note: All career earnings on this page are correct as April 23 2024 and subject to change 

Andy Newton
Andy Newton

Andy Newton is a horse racing handicapper who specializes in key race trends for the biggest events in sport around the world. His statistical approach to finding winners is one that has paid off time and time again. Check out the latest trends and Kentucky Derby stats from Andy on the site.